Tachira state governor Laidy Gomez denounced today that her predecessor, Jose Vielma Mora, stripped government offices bare prior to handing her the reigns of the state. Gomez–who is one of five opposition candidates to win in the October 15 gubernatorial elections–suggested that the outgoing PSUV governor even maliciously sabotaged vehicles belonging to the state. Gomez explained:
All of the vehicles in the Tachira state motor pool had their [gasoline] chips remove, and that is a crime. If someone breaks your windshield and steals your [gasoline] chip, they’d go to jail. Those chips will be reported [stolen] this week because we won’t allow them to be used to illicit purposes or for the re-selling of gasoline.
Given its close proximity to Colombia, gasoline sales are controlled in Tachira state via a computer chip that is unique to each individual’s vehicle. The chip tracks and sets limits on how much gasoline one person can buy to prevent the resale of the fuel in Colombia, where it can be sold at huge profits.
Gomez also said that all of the new vehicles in the state’s motor pool–some of which have not been in the road for three years–had their motors stolen.
The sabotage does not appear to be limited to physical objects, as Gomez explained that the former governor’s staff have also blocked access to the state’s financial information to members of her administration.
Gomez’s status as an member of the country’s official opposition is in doubt, given the fact that she was one of four governors who agreed to be sworn in by Maduro’s Constituent Assembly, a body that the Mesa de la Unidad Democratica (MUD) does not recognize. Last week, the party to which Gomez belongs–Accion Democratica–announced that Gomez has “removed herself” from the organization by participating in the swearing-in ceremony.
Almagro: “No Sense” In Participating in Regional Elections
The secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro, said during a speech yesterday that there was “no sense” in the Venezuelan opposition participating in the December municipal elections given the state of the country’s electoral system.
Almagro made the comments in Salt Lake City, Utah, while receiving an award from the Inter American Press Association (IAPA).
On the upcoming election, Almagro said:
There’s no sense in getting into an electoral process without guarantees, because you can’t play games with people’s votes.
Almagro’s comments come in light of the fact that Venezuela’s last two electoral processes–the July 30 Constituent Assembly and the October 15 gubernatorial votes–have been widely condemned as being fraudulent.
For Almagro, evidence that the Venezuelan electoral system is serious about impartial will come only when the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) allows “qualified international observers” to take part in elections, “specially” those from the IAPA.
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